SOUTH ASIA STUDIES
Intro Modrn S.Asia Lit
This course will provide a wide-ranging introduction to the literatures of South Asia from roughly 1500 to the present, as well as an exploration of their histories and impact on South Asian society today. How are literary movements and individual works - along with the attitudes towards religion, society, and culture associated with them - still influential in literature, film, and popular culture? How have writers across time and language engaged with questions of caste, gender, and identity? We will read from the rich archive of South Asian writing in translation - from languages that include Braj, Urdu, Bangla, and Tamil - to consider how these literatures depict their own society while continuing to resonate across time and space. Topics of dicussion will include the Bhakti poetries of personal devotion, the literature of Dalits - formerly referred to as the Untouchables - and the ways in which literature addresses contemporary political and social problems. Students will leave this course with a sense of the contours of the literatures of South Asia as well as ways of exploring the role of these literatures in the larger world. No prior knowledge of South Asia is required; this course fulfills the cross-cultural analysis requirement.
COML 013 - Introduction to Modern South Asian Literatures
Every Other Term
Your department or program fields a variety of courses to meet distinct educational needs. Please explain how this course fits into your department's plan for participating in the general education curriculum of the College. The sector panel will want to know what is distinctive about this course along with the other courses your department lists in the sector that makes them suitable for the sector requirement.
SAST 007 (India's Literatures from 1600 to the Present) was an extension of our departmental introductory literature track, to supplement SAST 004 (India's Literatures up to 1600). The course was first offered in 2013 by Ramya Sreenivasan and only satisfied the Cross-Cultural Requirement. Once we had our expert literature faculty hired (Gregory Goulding), we were ready to have that become part of our undergraduate curriculum. Greg taught the course last year and now seeks it to satisfy the same requirements that SAST 004 does.
The South Asia Studies department has several major disciplinary tracks: History, Literature, Performing Arts, and Society being the most prominent. In terms of 004 and 007, both collectively cover 4000 years of literary culture in South Asia. The need for two Introductory courses seems necessary to split the modern (007) from the premodern (004) and to allow scope for undergraduates to approach a different set of humanistic and artistic perspectives and to develop more targeted critical skills for analyzing disparate genres and technical forms. SAST 007 focuses slightly on early-modern forms of narrative and devotional literature and primarily on the South Asian novel of the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries composed in Indian languages (thus distinguishing the course from Indian novel forms exclusively composed in English.)
One-term course offered either term
Arts & Letters Sector
This course is intended as an introductory course, and therefore has no prerequisites. It is considered one of the "foundational courses" of the department, and is therefore specifically required by the major and minor. As an introduction to the modern literature of South Asia and its diverse literary cultures, it will ideally follow sequentially from SAST 004, "India's Literature," which is a survey of South Asian literature up to 1500 CE. These two courses will be designed to pair with each other so that students can transition directly from the first to the next. After taking this courses, students will be encouraged to take one of the Major courses dealing with literature with greater specificity.
Students are expected to develop skills in the interpretation of texts in translation, and the analysis of the history, society and culture of different periods and regions of South Asia. Furthermore, they are expected to develop skills in written analysis through the essay components of the course.
The goals for the course are described in the syllabus under the heading of "Learning Goals":
Students will leave this course with a sense of the contours of the literatures of South Asia as well as ways of exploring the role of these literatures in the larger world. Through class discussion, extensive reading of literary sources in translation, analysis of relevant secondary literature, in-class writing exercises, and regular brief response papers, students will gain skills in the interpretation of literary texts in translation, and in analysis of the social context of literary cultures. Although the knowledge of South Asian languages is not required, students will gain an appreciation for both how these texts were understood in their original language and social context, as well as how translation has shaped the ways we engage with these literatures. Finally, through writing a series of substantial interpretive essays, as well as completing preparatory exercises for writing these essays, students will engage deeply with individual works from the syllabus.
weekly 1-page response
2 3-page essays
1 3-page final paper proposal
1 10-page final paper
No exams will be assigned; assessment will be based on papers, participation, and a final presentation.
Attendance and Participation
1 5-minute Presentation
Sector II - History and Tradition